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Media restricted from covering Hurricane Ike’s devastation.

By Amanda Terkel  

"Media restricted from covering Hurricane Ike’s devastation."

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Yesterday in a local report on KTRK-TV in Houston, TX, reporter Wayne Dolcefino revealed that media have been blocked from covering Hurricane Ike’s devastation. In a press conference, Dolcefino pressed Gov. Rick Perry on why media aren’t even allowed to fly over parts of Galveston Island, noting that media access was far better in Mississippi and Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina. Perry tried to brush off Dolcefino’s concerns, but eventually passed blame to federal officials:

DOLCEFINO: That is unprecedented and quite honestly not appropriate because it’s our job to inform people. Why can’t we go to Bolivar and West End?

PERRY: I think when the local officials decide it was appropriate, whether it’s the media or first responders or what have you. The fact of the matter, that is actually a local decision, Wayne, that is made by the local county judge and by the mayor of those —

DOLCEFINO: They don’t control that area.

PERRY: Last time, the state of Texas doesn’t even.

DOLCEFINO: So it’s the federal government?

PERRY: I don’t know.

Watch it:

(HT: TP reader PD)

Transcript:

REPORTER: Wayne, we know you are covering that press conference that took place in Galveston with Gov. Rick Perry. Could you give us some perspective as to what was going on in that press conference?

DOLCEFINO: Actually, we covered the press conference in Galveston. I was in Ellington field when the Governor stopped there.

Ispecifically drove down from Houston after coming back from Galveston earlier this morning to sort of ask the Governor the question and put him on the spot. We’ve been trying ever since the storm to get somebody to take some responsibility for who is in charge, who has decided that the public does not have the right to see the devastation essentially in our hometown. The folks in Bolivar worried about friends and family and their businesses have a right to see it. [...]

[PRESS CONFERENCE]

DOLCEFINO: The lack of media access and information from Bolivar and the West End is unprecedented. We’ve covered many storms. We were in Mississippi and Louisiana the very next day. What is the situation in bolivar how many fatalities are there and why has the media — hasn’t been allowed because it’s our job, be in to show what people is going on with their homes?

GOV. RICK PERRY: Well, Wayne, I don’t know where you’ve been. We just got back from Galveston and there was huge room of media there. Looked to me like –

DOLCEFINO: I’ve been down there three days. I’m talking about the Bolivar Peninsula and West End, where we’ve been denied access and denied permission to be in helicopters. That is unprecedented and quite honestly not appropriate because it’s our job to inform people. Why can’t we go to Bolivar and West End?

PERRY: I think when the local officials decide it was appropriate, whether it’s the media or first responders or what have you. The fact of the matter, that is actually a local decision, Wayne, that is made by the local county judge and by the mayor of those —

DOLCEFINO: They don’t control that area.

PERRY: Last time, the state of Texas doesn’t even.

DOLCEFINO: So it’s the federal government?

PERRY: I don’t know. You are delving into issues — I don’t control federal airspace.

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hussein toasterhead Says: Looks like it. The airspace over the Texas coastline up to 2,000 feet was declared a restricted area effective today:

http://tfr.faa.gov/save_pages/detail_8_8191.html

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